sorolla y estados unidos (sorolla and the united states)

26 SEPTEMBER 2014 – 11 JANUARY 2015
Baile en el Café Novedades de Sevilla, 1914
Óleo sobre lienzo, 246 x 295 cm. Colección Banco Santander
Foto: Colección Banco Santander, Madrid (Joaquín Cortés)
Paseo de Recoletos, 23
26 September 2014 - 11 January 2015
Blanca Pons Sorolla
AGENDA / Imogen Bailey
42 rue des Jeûneurs, 75002 Paris
Tel. +33 1 49 95 08 06 / [email protected]
From 26th September 2014 until 11th January 2015 the exhibition SOROLLA Y
ESTADOS UNIDOS is on at the FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE gallery in Paseo de
Recoletos. This exhibition is the first to include 150 paintings by Joaquín Sorolla
(1863-1923); it follows the fascinating story of the Valencian painter in the United
States, displaying some of his best work outside Spain and examining his
extraordinary international fame.
After building a well-established reputation in Europe, Sorolla showed his work
in two major exhibitions in the United States, sponsored by the Hispanic Society
of America and its founder Archer M. Huntington. He had tremendous success.
The American public fell in love with his beach scenes soaked by the
Mediterranean sun, his exquisite Spanish gardens and his sophisticated and
elegant portraits. This success had major impact on the painter's career, as most
of his mature years were dedicated to exhibitions and commissions related to
his American adventure.
Following four years of research, this exhibition offers a unique chance to enjoy
a fundamental part of Sorolla's work currently found in the United States. The
paintings were kindly lent by The Hispanic Society of America, The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston, The Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art,
Saint Louis Art Museum, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, San Luis, San Diego
Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, among others. Several paintings from
prestigious private American collections will also be shown, many of which were
located in the course of research completed prior to this exhibition. The
exhibition is also generously supported by several Spanish collections, such as
Museo Sorolla, Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Colección Santander and
Fundación Bancaja.
Paseo del faro. Biarritz, 1906
Óleo sobre lienzo, 68,3 x 188,6 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Colección Peter
Chardon Brooks
Sorolla en Estados Unidos antes de sus grandes exposiciones (Sorolla in the US
before his great exhibitions)
The exhibition starts with works by Sorolla that could already be found in American
collections before the painter's arrival in the US. Some of these paintings such as The
Port of Valencia or The Carob Tree were acquired by European dealers in exhibitions
in Paris, Munich, Berlin and London. Nevertheless, the most important ones arrived in
the United States after receiving important awards: in 1893 Another Marguerite! won
the medal of honor at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and Sad
Inheritance! was given the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.
These early paintings clearly show how Sorolla's work was gradually shaped in the
context of the international style evident in all major artistic events.
Huntington. Mecenas de Sorolla en América (Sorolla's patron in America)
Archer Huntington, an American millionaire who was passionate about Spain,
discovered Sorolla's work in London and suggested that the painter exhibit his
paintings in the Hispanic Society of America, which Huntington had founded only four
years earlier as a museum and study center for promoting Spanish art and culture.
Held in New York in 1909 (followed by Buffalo and Boston) the exhibition was an
unprecedented success, with more than 160,000 visitors, 20,000 catalogs sold and
extraordinary reviews. This triumph was repeated two years later at an exhibition in
Chicago and San Louis, also organized with the support of the Hispanic Society.
Huntington and Sorolla formed an unshakeable partnership from the very beginning.
This section of the exhibition focuses on their relationship through a series of works
representing its main milestones: Leonese Peasants or Afternoon Sun represent
Huntington's first purchases. A series of gouaches outlines the project about Spain's
regions that was to occupy most of the artist's last years. Similarly, the two portraits
Portrait of King Alfonso III and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain reflect the support
of Spain's kings at these international exhibitions.
Las dos hermanas, 1909
Óleo sobre lienzo, 176,2 x 112,1 cm
The Art Institute of Chicago. Donación de la Sra. De
William Stanley North en memoria de William Stanley
North. Inv. 1911.28. Photography © The Art Institute of
Ryan. El otro mecenas americano (The other American patron)
Sorolla met the American magnate Thomas Fortune Ryan at his 1909 New York
exhibition. In the following years Ryan acquired over 20 of Sorolla's works, especially
paintings of main Spanish themes. He also commissioned several portraits and some
very important paintings. To create the first one, Christopher Columbus leaving
Palos, Sorolla traveled to Andalucía to follow the explorer's footsteps and paint nine
remarkable oil studies, shown for the first time beside the final painting. Women
Dancing Flamenco at the Café Novedades, finished in 1914, is one of Ryan's main
commissions and is intended to portray a scene centered on flamenco.
Retratos vendidos en Estados Unidos (Portraits sold in the United States)
Despite their growing importance in the context of his work and their extraordinary
quality, Sorolla did not see himself as a portrait painter. However, he exhibited several
family portraits in the United States, mainly to publicize his skills in this genre and to
attract new clients. Clotilde in a Black Dress, Clotilde in a White Dress and Maria at
La Granja are especially noteworthy. Sorolla also showed portraits of great
personalities of Spanish culture such as the painter Raimundo de Madrazo,
Aureliano de Beruete or Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, three paintings that represent the
beginning of the fantastic portrait collection of distinguished Spaniards at the Hispanic
Society of America.
Portraits painted in the United States (Retratos pintados en Estados Unidos)
Following the success of the portraits included in the 1909 and 1911 exhibitions and
thanks to Huntington's help, who supported Sorolla in creating lasting relationships with
illustrious American clients, the artist received more than fifty commissions to paint
respected members of the American elite.
Even though most of these paintings reflect
the formulae used in commissioned portraits,
Sorolla demonstrated his ability to convey the
subject's personality, such as Juliana Armour
Ferguson or Mrs. William H. Gratwick. The
portraits painted in 1911 show more creative
freedom than those created in 1909. We
should mention Mrs. Ira Nelson Morris and
her children, where we can find a close
similarity to the portraits of John Singer
Sargent and Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Mrs. William H. Gratwick, Emilie Victorine Piolet
Mitchell Gratwick,1909
Óleo sobre lienzo, 152,4 x 99 cm
Cortesía de Emilie Mitchell Gratwick Lewis
Foto: Courtesy of Emilie Mitchell Gratwick Lewis
Paisajes y jardines (Landscapes and gardens)
Landscape painting is fundamental to Sorolla's work. He developed this genre
alongside his consolidation as an artist, and achieved great success among American
critics and consumers. The influence of the Regenerationist landscape paintings,
inspired by Sorolla's friend Aureliano de Beruete, coincides with the growing
importance of this genre in international painting. Thus from 1906, the views of Segovia
and Toledo combine very modern perspectives with the solemnity of Castilian
architecture and streets. Moreover, from the time of his first visits to Andalucía in 1908,
Sorolla fully develops a poetic representation of silence and privacy. It is surprisingly in
line with the symbolist sensitivity of the time and can be seen in his paintings of the
gardens of the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada.
Mar y playas en las exposiciones de 1909 y 1911 (Sea and beaches at the 1909
and 1911 exhibitions)
Corriendo por la playa, 1908. Óleo sobre lienzo
90 x 166,5 cm. Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo.
Colección Pedro Masaveu. Foto: Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo
Sorolla fascinated the American public with his paintings of the sea and the beach,
exceptional examples of his research into light and color. The White Boat, Javea and
The Bath, Javea demonstrate his masterful ability to represent light, in this case
reflecting off the subjects in the water. Alongside the naked boys swimming in the
Valencian beaches Sorolla shows the cosmopolitanism and sophistication of the
beaches in Northern Spain, in paintings such as Lighthouse Walk at Biarritz and
Under the Awning, Zarauz. This exhibition also includes one of the masterpieces
shown at the 1909 exhibition: Running along the Beach, which is shown together with
four studies exhibited for the first time after being located at the Brooklyn Museum in
New York during research completed for this exhibition.
Estudios, apuntes y notas de color (Studies, sketches and notes on color)
At the same time as he painted on a bigger scale, Sorolla continuously worked on
smaller pieces either as sketches for bigger paintings or for the simple pleasure of
painting. This exhibition includes thirty of his best sketches shown at US exhibitions,
which garnered exceptional reviews and sales results. You can also see the frames
designed by Sorolla for these specific paintings.
Dibujos y gouaches (Drawings and gouaches)
During his visits to the United States, Sorolla was profoundly inspired by the modernity
of the big cities and the sophisticated environment of American high society. During his
stay in New York and Chicago in 1911, he painted a series of low-angle views from his
hotel room inspired by the skyscrapers, and created drawings on the back of menus of
customers in his hotel restaurants. Extremely spontaneous and refreshing, these
pieces are shown for the first time at this exhibition at the Fundacion Mapfre.
AGENDA / Imogen Bailey
42 rue des Jeûneurs, 75002 Paris
Tel. +33 1 49 95 08 06 / [email protected]